Zoomars Petting Zoo houses more than 100 animals to pet, feed, and play with. Make acquaintances with Zoomars' herd of lanky llamas, or admire the thick, impenetrable shell of the slow-strutting tortoise. Several animals can nibble on hand-offered snacks, with many exhibiting a particular fondness for carrot sticks covered in a red-wine reduction. Equestrian enthusiasts can saddle onto a majestic horse for a peaceful pony ride ($5 for 1 lap and $8 for 2 laps, not included in this Groupon) while others can heatedly debate Hegel's logical positivism with an alpaca.
Pumpkin Stations turn pumpkin shopping and family-park excursions into a one-stop trip. Each of the five Pumpkin Station locations houses a variety of family-fun activities, from giant slides and mini-trains to sky fighter rides and carousels. Mission Valley, for instance, enables visitors to get their sea legs with an on-site boat ride, while the El Cajon game zones gives them a place to rest in between activities. No matter the location, families, friends, and groups can stroll through an asphalt pumpkin patch to seek out a large, plump gourd to take home and carve into a jack-o-lantern.
During the scenic biplane ride, you and your best friend or building manager will occupy the front seats of a restored 1920s open-air plane as a skilled pilot flies from the back cockpit. The 20-minute flight buzzes along the Southern California coast, over scenic beaches, through the clouds, and under dangerous rainbows. With matching headsets, you’ll be in constant communication with the pilot, who will customize your journey as you wish and take you wherever you’d like to go at a leisurely drift or a grueling pace that would exhaust even the strongest yolk of oxen.
Pay a visit to a bird's house. See a Moray eel get comfortable. Watch as a sea turtle swims up to say hello. Living Coast Discovery Center isn't a nature museum: it's a chance to hang out with Southern California's plants and animals on their own turf. The Discovery Center welcomes visitors to their "living, breathing, flapping, buzzing and splashing home" on the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.
Since the age of 7, Dr. Robert Stonebreaker shared a special affinity with all birds. Wanting to bring people closer to his feathered friends, he lent his passion to Free Flight in 1989, helping evolve the avian boarding-and-breeding center into a sanctuary where visitors could interact with the exotic creatures. Amid open air and emerald palm fronds, guests can let a yellow, orange, and green sun conure perch on their shoulder or pet a timneh grey while trading info on which local convenience store carries the best sunflower seed. The tropical oasis also teems with koi lagoons, where schools of shimmering carp swim under the flaps of eclectus parrots and fluffy white cockatoos soaring through the aviary.
Dr. Stonebraker tragically passed away in 2010, but the team at Free Flight has upheld his tireless work by fostering human-avian relations and furthering visitors' understanding of all birds. The bird keepers also encourage involvement through donation, membership, volunteer opportunities, and most notably, their adopt-a-bird program.
San Diego Botanic Garden envelops visitors in 37 acres of lush gardens and diverse terrain, offering nature-centric events and docent-led tours through the urban oasis. Explore the seemingly endless expanse of 28 themed gardens and venture into the world of verdure with the Australian Garden, rich in low-water plants and Vegemite, or the Mediterranean Garden, filled with fragrant water-smart plants such as lavender, rosemary, and Tang. Attend an insightful event, such as the Asian Arts in the Garden experience, or satisfy pressing cocoa queries at the Chocolate Festival. Peruse the premises with a gaggle of garden groupies, take a self-guided tour, or attend the free docent-led garden tour at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays.